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PenFed helps members achieve dreams with AI and omni-channel support.

PenFed agents have more time to help 2.9 million members achieve their goals with automation and chat.
3 min read

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) frees up employees to spend more time helping over 2.9 million members achieve their financial goals thanks to AI and omni-channel support.

In a Nutshell

PenFed combines the exceptional member experience for which credit unions are renowned with the digital experience typical of a large bank. Now, members get faster support thanks to AI, live chat, and self-service support options. Plus, service agents have a 360-degree view of member data so they can work more efficiently and deliver service that members love. Since expanding its communication channels with chat, PenFed’s call center has reduced its average speed to answer by an entire minute to less than 60 seconds. It has done all this while increasing membership 31%.

Why it Matters

Economic uncertainty, inflation, and fluctuating interest rates raise critical questions about the financial future. To ease these concerns, consumers need answers in real time — without having to call in.

Now, PenFed members can get help faster with self-service, chatbots, and live chat. With many of its members being active military or veterans and many of its branches near military bases, it’s essential that members can access support easily — whether they’re home, on the road, or deployed abroad.

“Being able to see all the communication — chat transcripts, emails, phone calls — on the member's profile page has totally transformed the agent and member experiences.”

Olivia Boles
Director, Operations Projects, PenFed

What the Difference Looks Like

PenFed’s call center first opened in the 80s, staffed by four people sharing one computer. It built its service platform in-house, but it did not provide key insights into a member’s account like the products they use and their engagement history. This caused agents to spend more time handling each case over the phone.

Here’s what the employee experience looks like today:

  • By streamlining customer data into one unified platform with Mulesoft, PenFed now has complete data for every customer, whether they use a branch or digital banking. Plus, every team, from the contact center to the branch, can now work from the same member view in Financial Services Cloud.
  • With up-to-date member information at the ready, agents have the context they need to take action right from Salesforce, working faster and more efficiently. For example, branch representatives can now handle multiple types of customer requests in a single window. Today, PenFed resolves 20% of cases on first contact with AI-powered chatbots, resulting in a 223% increase in chat and chatbot activity in the past year.
  • Onboarding new members used to be a lengthy and manual process. Today, PenFed provides a single view of member data, integrating internal and external platforms into one central place with API-led connectivity. This allows PenFed to conduct credit checks and provide applicants with a quick and seamless onboarding experience.
  • Einstein automatically handles simple routine questions, like password resets, deflecting over 60% of all internal service cases. This frees up service desk agents to spend their time solving more complex service requests.
  • In less than eight weeks, PenFed implemented two new support channels — live agent chat and chatbots — with just one engineer. It can now deploy new functionality every month without requiring custom coding or development.

This resulted in better member experiences, too:

  • 2.9 million members have self-service options at their fingertips through PenFed’s online banking powered entirely by Experience Cloud. They can easily check account balances, access educational resources, and open a support request via chat.
  • Members receive instant access to financial support programs like loan deferment (skip payments). In just two weeks, PenFed built a loan deferment portal on Experience Cloud, assisting over 11,000 members facing financial hardship.
  • Members can choose their channel of choice when they need help. They also enjoy shorter wait times without repeating the same information since agents already have easy access to member interaction history in one place. On average, agents now answer a call within 30 to 45 seconds.

Behind the Scenes

To ensure the security of its member data, PenFed built its security infrastructure in collaboration with Coastal Cloud.

Going Forward

PenFed plans to add Einstein to internal (and eventually customer-facing) processes with generative AI. Einstein will act as an virtual assistant, suggesting chat and email responses service agents can use to answer questions faster and reduce queues.

223 %
increase in chat and chatbot activity
60 %
case deflection rate
31 %
increase in memberships